The impact of reproductive investment and early‐life environmental conditions on senescence: support for the disposable soma hypothesis

  title={The impact of reproductive investment and early‐life environmental conditions on senescence: support for the disposable soma hypothesis},
  author={Martijn Hammers and David S. Richardson and Terry A. Burke and Jan Komdeur},
  journal={Journal of Evolutionary Biology},
Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain the evolution of senescence. One of the leading hypotheses, the disposable soma hypothesis, predicts a trade‐off, whereby early‐life investment in reproduction leads to late‐life declines in survival (survival senescence). Testing this hypothesis in natural populations is challenging, but important for understanding the evolution of senescence. We used the long‐term data set from a contained, predator‐free population of individually marked… 

Early-late life trade-offs and the evolution of ageing in the wild

A review of 26 studies of free-ranging vertebrate populations that explicitly tested for a trade-off between performance in early and late life brings overall support for the presence of early-late life trade-offs, suggesting that the limitation of available resources leads individuals to trade somatic maintenance later in life for high allocation to reproduction early in life.

Environmental conditions during early life accelerate the rate of senescence in a short-lived passerine bird.

The rate of reproductive decline during senescence was steeper for individuals exposed to intense competition, and predation pressure accelerated the rate of fertility decline, but only in sites with many breeding pairs, which emphasize the importance of considering intraspecific competition and interspecific interactions such as predation when analyzing reproductive and actuarial senescences.

Do Early-Life Conditions Drive Variation in Senescence of Female Bighorn Sheep?

It is shown that early-life environmental conditions are important drivers of later survival and reproductive success and contribute to intra-specific variation in late-life fitness, but not aging patterns, which should be considered when studying the mechanisms of senescence.

Lifetime fitness consequences of early‐life ecological hardship in a wild mammal population

This study suggests that exposure to more variable environments in early life can result in lifetime fitness benefits, whereas differences in the mean early‐life conditions experienced mediate a life‐history trade‐off between survival and reproduction.

Evidence for senescence in survival but not in reproduction in a short‐lived passerine

Results on patterns of age‐specific and sex‐specific variation in survival and reproduction in the whinchat Saxicola rubetra, a short‐lived passerine are presented and no clear evidence for sex effects on these patterns are found.

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The results illustrate how the effects of environmental conditions during development can persist throughout life, and indicate one possible cause of phenotypic plasticity in senescence.

Early‐life seasonal, weather and social effects on telomere length in a wild mammal

Overall, it is shown that controlling for seasonal effects, which are linked to food availability, is important in telomere length analyses, and that variation in telomerre length in badgers reflects early‐life conditions and also predicts first year cub survival.

Early‐life conditions impact juvenile telomere length, but do not predict later life‐history strategies or fitness in a wild vertebrate

The results showed that using juvenile telomere length as a measure of early‐life conditions requires caution, as it is likely to not only reflect environmental stress but also other processes such as growth, indicating that poor early‐ life conditions pose subsequent fitness constraints.

Live fast, don't die young: Survival–reproduction trade‐offs in long‐lived income breeders

A novel statistical framework is developed that encapsulates the breeding life cycle of females, and accounts for incomplete information on female pregnancy and lactation and imperfect and biased recapture rates, which indicates that species with this type of life history exhibit a mixture of patterns expected for long‐lived and short‐lived animals, and between income and capital breeders.

Senescence in the wild: Insights from a long-term study on Seychelles warblers




Reproductive Senescence in a Long‐Lived Seabird: Rates of Decline in Late‐Life Performance Are Associated with Varying Costs of Early Reproduction

Investigation of factors influencing the rate of reproductive senescence in a long‐lived seabird, the common guillemot Uria aalge, demonstrates for the first time in a wild bird population that increased rates of senescences in reproductive performance are associated with varying costs of reproduction early in life.

Evolution of senescence: late survival sacrificed for reproduction.

  • T. KirkwoodM. Rose
  • Biology
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1991
The antagonistic pleiotropy theory proposes that certain alleles that are favoured because of beneficial early effects also have deleterious later effects, and the disposable soma theory suggests that because of the competing demands of reproduction less effort is invested in the maintenance of somatic tissues than is necessary for indefinite survival.

Natal conditions alter age-specific reproduction but not survival or senescence in a long-lived bird of prey.

The way natal environmental conditions affect senescence varies not only across species but also within species according to gender and the demographic trait considered.

Senescence rates are determined by ranking on the fast-slow life-history continuum.

Without using life tables, senescence rates in annual individual fitness is examined using 20 individual-based data sets of terrestrial vertebrates with contrasting life histories and body size to assess the robustness of the prevalent life-table approach.

The evolutionary ecology of senescence

There is a need to reconcile the different approaches to studying senescence, and to integrate theories to explain the evolution ofsenescence with other evolutionary theories such as sexual and kin selection.

Ageing in a variable habitat: environmental stress affects senescence in parasite resistance in St Kilda Soay sheep

The results show that individuals experience an increase in parasite burden, as indicated by gastrointestinal helminth faecal egg count (FEC) with chronological age, and illustrate that chronological age alone may not always correspond to biological age, particularly in variable environments.

Effect of extrinsic mortality on the evolution of senescence in guppies

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Age-specific variation in survival, reproductive success and offspring quality in red squirrels: evidence of senescence

It is indicated that variations in food conditions during early life influenced the reproductive tactics of females in the first years of their life, but not senescence patterns, which suggests that older females produce juveniles of lower quality.